Social And Ecologic Implications of Proposals For Out-of-Basin River Diversions

by Bernard B. Berger, Dir.; Water Resources Res. Center, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA,

Serial Information: Engineering Issues: Journal of Professional Activities, 1971, Vol. 97, Issue 1, Pg. 95-110

Document Type: Journal Paper


A proposal to divert stream flow out of the basin of origin is not normally greeted with wholehearted enthusiasm by the population of the basin. Opposition to such diversion, which represents an historic determinant of regional growth in western United States, is increasing even in the water-rich New England area. Here, the water resources planner has in recent years encountered strong contention in his efforts to transfer water our-of-basin. It has become clear that the justification for such transfer must be unassailable, and that the water rights and future requirements of the basin population must be carefully considered and protected in the water transfer transaction. The planning process, once considered an essentially engineering enterprise, has in consequence become exceedingly complex and, for the engineer, a challenging, multidimensional planning operation. Presented is an illuminating case study of this type of interbasin water transfer problem, the proposal to divert floodwaters from the Connecticut River at Northfield, MA, to Quabbin Reservoir, the major source of drinking water for Boston.

Subject Headings: Basins | Water resources | Social factors | Ecosystems | Rivers and streams | Streamflow | Water content | Water rights | United States | Massachusetts | New England | Connecticut | Boston

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